From the Hart: Meriweather elite?

Over on, PFW friend and former writer Mike Reiss has a couple of interesting notes pertaining to the Patriots defense.

The first is from playmaking safety Darren Sharper’s recent appearance on NFL Network. Apparently the Saints star – who knows a little something about being an impact safety thanks to his 63 career interceptions and 11 touchdowns – listed his top safeties in the league.

Sharper led off with the usual candidates in Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu and Baltimore’s Ed Reed. Then he continued with Green Bay’s Nick Collins, New York’s Antrel Rolle and Arizona’s Adrian Wilson.

Coming it at No. 6 on his list, though, was oft-criticized Patriots two-time Pro Bowler Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather is questioned inside Patriots Nation for his tackling, angles and consistency but seems to maintain a pretty high ranking nationally and, apparently, among other players.

That’s probably why’s Pete Prisco lists Meriweather as his most overrated Patriot in his annual rundown of the most overrated/underrated players on each NFL team. (Prisco, by the way, lists former Patriots Asante Samuel as the most overrated Eagle.)  The underrated nominee for New England? Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the former undrafted rookie coming off his first 1,000-yard season.

In writing about Meriweather, Prisco states: “He is a problem when it comes to coverage, yet he goes to Pro Bowls. How does that happen? He even came out on some downs.”

Meriweather also comes up in another blog posting as the Football Outsiders ranked New England as the surest-tackling defense in the NFL. According to Football Outsiders very unofficial numbers, James Sanders led the Patriots with seven missed tackles on the 2010 season while the much-maligned Meriweather was tied for third-most with just four for the year.

Click here to order Brandon Meriweather’s proCane Rookie Card.

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